Biz Roundup: Survey shows impact of COVID-19 on regional manufacturing jobs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 7, 2021

SALISBURY — Issued by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance at the close of 2020, the Manufacturing in the Charlotte Region Report and Labor Market Survey indicated the impact COVID-19 had on the region’s manufacturing employment.

Responses were garnered from approximately 126 manufacturers in North and South Carolina across the Charlotte region. Among the participating counties, Rowan County ranked 4th highest in responses. Manufacturers were surveyed to determine key industries they supply in the Charlotte region. The automotive industry was among the most commonly served industries, followed by health care, aerospace and defense.

Key findings from the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing employment found that employers did not lay off significant numbers of staff permanently. No company reported laying off more than 29% of its total workforce. However, 11% of employers did lay off 50% or more of production staff temporarily as social distancing regulations and supply chain challenges led to partial shutdowns of production operations. In addition, 23% of companies responding to the survey reported that they added employees due to changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings from the survey will be dissected further at the Rowan County Manufacturing Network meeting on Feb. 25.  For early bird registration for this webinar, contact Kendall@RowanEDC.com.

Study shows cost of living in Rowan County lower than national average

SALISBURY — The cost to live in Rowan County in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 7.6% lower than the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Rowan County’s average cost of living index for the period was 92.4. An index of 100 is average.

“The cost of living study is important because it documents the affordability of Rowan County, which is a major factor in attracting new residents,” Rowan EDC President Rod Crider said in a news release. “It is particularly useful to companies in their talent recruitment efforts.  For instance, our housing costs are 20% below the national average, which is an important factor in attracting young persons in the early stages of their careers.”

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures. In Rowan County, data on 60 goods and services is collected each quarter by students at Catawba College under the direction of Eric Hake, the dean of the Ketner School of Business.

The composite index is based on six components – housing (80.2), utilities (97.3), grocery items (98.4), transportation (92.1), health care (104.4) and miscellaneous goods and services (96.9).

Healthcare Management Consultants launches tax services group

SALISBURY — Healthcare Management Consultants, Inc. and The Dental CFO, LLC recently announced the formation of HMC Tax Group, LLC, which will be responsible for the expansion of tax services to healthcare and non-healthcare clients. The group will be led by W. Charles Whaley, CPA, CHBC, who will serve as director of tax services.

Whaley joined the Salisbury-based Healthcare Management Consultants in 2015 as a consultant and senior tax specialist. He is a Certified Public Accountant with over 15 years of “Big 4” public accounting and industry experience in providing accounting and tax services to a diverse range of clients. Whaley is a certified healthcare business consultant and a member of the National Society of Healthcare Business Consultants. 

Whaley received a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a Master’s of Science in Accounting from Appalachian State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and N.C. Association of Certified Public Accountants. 

In a recent company announcement, Healthcare Management Consultants President and CEO Tom Loeblein said that the formation of the HMC Tax Group has been a concept under consideration over the past several years. Loeblein said in a news release that “growth in the number of clients requesting tax services, and recent outstanding additions to our team to handle this growth, have created an opportunity to form a separate entity focusing entirely on tax services.”

Healthcare Management Consultants, Inc. and The Dental CFO, LLC have provided comprehensive financial, practice management, tax and strategic consulting services to healthcare clients throughout the Southeastern United States since 1967.

Carolina Caring adds new physician to staff

Carolina Caring recently announced that Dr. Charles Frankhouser, an internist and palliative medicine physician, has joined its roster of healthcare providers.

Frankhouser brings more than five years of palliative medicine experience to Carolina Caring and works collaboratively with doctors, nurses, social workers and spiritual counselors to address patients’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

After receiving his medical training at Tufts University Medical School in Boston, Frankhouser completed his internship and fellowship at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Care. 

Frankhouser chose to pursue palliative medicine because of its focus on meaningful patient-doctor relationships that help support patients as they face serious illness.

“I enjoy spending time with my patients and offering personalized care that aligns with their goals and wishes,” Frankhouser said in a news release. “Over the years, I have often seen this approach to healthcare improve the lives of my patients.” 

Carolina Caring’s Palliative Medicine Program works in partnership with local doctors and is designed to complement the care patients receive by adding an extra layer of ongoing, supportive care.

For more information about Carolina Caring’s palliative medicine program, visit CarolinaCaring.org/palliative-medicine.

Wells Fargo warns of stimulus check scammers

As stimulus checks are being sent to millions of Americans nationwide and seniors are registering to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, related scams are growing in prevalence. 

Scammers are impersonating government and health organizations, banks, and well-known companies to steal personal and financial information, including Social Security numbers, bank information and medical identities.

Wells Fargo has these tips for people to avoid falling prey to scammers:

  • Don’t respond to an unsolicited phone call, text, email, or social media post requesting your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number
  •  Don’t pay anyone who claims they can get your stimulus payment faster or vaccination sooner
  • Don’t pay an upfront fee to receive your stimulus payment or be scheduled for the vaccine

In addition, as social restrictions continue in support of public health, risks associated with isolation permeate among the aging population. A recent Wells Fargo poll found that a quarter (25%) of all seniors age 60 and above report feeling isolated and lonely, and over a third (43%) can go days without talking to others and spend most of their time alone. 

According to Wells Fargo’s Aging Client Services, isolation is a major contributing factor in many elder financial exploitation cases. Estimated to affect one in 10 older adults and cost billions annually, the threat of elder financial fraud is pervasive.

More information about scams and how to avoid them can be found at www.consumer.ftc.gov.